This morning there was a disturbance in the Force. The Fox Nation debuted amidst fanfare and the gnashing of teeth at tea parties everywhere. However, reports of the Fox News secession movement appear to have been a little overblown (by me, mostly). The reality of the Fox Nation is significantly less substantial than previously predicted.
The Fox Nation is apparently not an attempt to abandon the Union (although my satirical representation of it as such was actually taken seriously by some right-wing conspiracy theorists across the InterTubes). It is merely a low grade, right-wing, knockoff of the Huffington Post. The partisan character of its Fox News parentage, however, is plainly visible. The “fair and balanced “ collection of articles featured at the top of its page (see picture above) present the President as “scary” and promote the rightist triumvirate of Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and Beck (oh my). Digging down further we find a plethora of partisanship in reporting:
- Chris Dodd’s cavalcade of scandal
- Lobbyist scandal to ensnare Murtha?
- Dick Morris: Obama soft on terror, hard on charities
- Daily Beast: Who did Pelosi’s face?
- Affirmative Action for Muslims in the White House?
- Stacked!! Obama fills town hall with supporters
- Hannity holding Tea Party on Tax Day
- WaPo interrogation story ‘rife with misinformation’
- Video: Bill Maher smears US troops
- Limbaugh ratings skyrocket after Democrat attacks
Of course the headlines on Fox Nation must not be taken too seriously. For instance, the article about Obama stacking his town hall with supporters doesn’t actually produce any evidence of that being done. In fact, it reports that invitations were sent to many groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. With regard to the Huffington Post, Fox Nation takes a swipe at them as well, with an article derogatorily titled, “Huffington Post to rummage through your trash.” The actual article is about a new investigative journalism venture by HuffPo, not some dumpster diving sensationalism. We’ll leave that to Fox. Recall also that O’Reilly has compared Arianna Huffington to Nazis. I don’t expect it will be long before he and the rest of the Fox lineup will escalate their war against HuffPo as a competitor the way they have with NBC.
Obviously the intent of Fox Nation is to inject a negative tone whether or not anyone ever clicks through to the articles. And it’s revealing to take a look at the heavily right-weighted array of news sources employed on Fox Nation – including four owned by Rupert Murdoch:
- New York Post (Murdoch)
- Wall Street Journal (Murdoch)
- Fox Business Network (Murdoch)
- The Sun (Murdoch)
- Michele Malkin
- Andrew Breitbart
- Washington Times
- National Review
- Conservative Express
- Matt Drudge
In the end, the Fox Nation is nothing more than a dressed up version of the Fox Forums that already pollute the web. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a potential threat to civil discourse and domestic tranquility. Fox Nation aggregates the Fox audience under a single banner that gives them an identity and a flag to fly. The comments section is as ideologically monochromatic as you would expect from the Fox stable of so-called “news” enterprises. It is also overtly hostile to anyone not sufficiently attuned to neo-Dark-Age conservatism. The community, hyped as “a place to call home,” is as rabidly anti-Obama as it is bewitched by Beck.
It’s still early, and perhaps this is just the first phase of the eventual division of America. It goes without saying that Fox has as its purpose to be divisive and that Fox Nation is in alignment with purpose. It just remains to be seen how far they will go. And for this reason it remains important to keep an eye on future developments.
This just in: Fox News Senior VP Bill Shine says of Fox Nation, “We’re calling it a mix between the Huffington Post and Drudge.” Hmmm.